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GREEN LETTER DAY: Deutsche Post’s last night flights transporting mail between northern and southern Germany took place in the early hours of March 28, ending a near 63-year airmail service that had operated since September 1961. The shift to road will result an 80% fall in carbon dioxide emissions on affected routes. The move is being facilitated by legislative reforms allowing the company to deliver 95% of domestic mail within three working days, instead of the previous stipulation that 80% of letters be delivered on the next working day.
GREEN LETTER DAY
12th April 2024

Deutsche Post’s last night flights transporting mail between northern and southern Germany took place in the early hours of March 28, ending a near 63-year airmail service that had operated since... 


COPPER CONTENDER: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) overtook Peru as the world's second largest copper producer in 2023, Reuters reports, while noting that it still lagged the South American country in exports. The DRC produced 2.84-million tons last year, the country's central bank reported, against Peru's output of 2.76 million tons. Chile remains the top producer of the red metal.
COPPER CONTENDER
5th April 2024

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) overtook Peru as the world's second largest copper producer in 2023, Reuters reports, while noting that it still lagged the South American country in exports.... 


CRITICAL CONTINENT: The US is looking to Africa to help loosen a Chinese stranglehold on battery metals and reduce Russia's influence over the market for other minerals, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters during a recent visit to a platinum mine in Marikana, owned by Sibanye-Stillwater. Adeyemo (right) with Sibanye Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman during his visit to a platinum mine where he said: “Africa is going to play a huge role. A lot of critical minerals are located here.” Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko for Reuters.
CRITICAL CONTINENT
29th March 2024

The US is looking to Africa to help loosen a Chinese stranglehold on battery metals and reduce Russia's influence over the market for other minerals, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told... 




DISAPPOINTING DEMAND: The iron-ore price has come under pressure in recent weeks after disappointing demand in China left the market with high inventory levels. Bloomberg reports that Chinese construction activity remains lackluster, squeezing a vital source of steel demand, while Beijing has also refrained from deploying the type of massive infrastructure stimulus that it has used in the past. Photograph: Bloomberg
DISAPPOINTING DEMAND
22nd March 2024

The iron-ore price has come under pressure in recent weeks after disappointing demand in China left the market with high inventory levels. Bloomberg reports that Chinese construction activity... 


The International Monetary Fund is urging the Nigerian government to urgently address growing food insecurity, amid surging food-price inflation and a steep hike in interest rates, implemented by the central bank in a bid to stabilise a rapid weakening naira. “With about 8% of Nigerians deemed food insecure, addressing rising food insecurity is the immediate policy priority,” the IMF said in a statement earlier this month. Photograph: Bloomberg
FOOD CRISIS
15th March 2024

The International Monetary Fund is urging the Nigerian government to urgently address growing food insecurity, amid surging food-price inflation and a steep hike in interest rates, implemented by... 


NO CARBON CRUNCH: The Presidency has expressed confidence that South Africa will meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets even if it keeps some coal-fired plants, such as the one pictured here, open beyond their current decommissioning dates. “It’s not about stopping decommissioning,” Rudi Dicks, head of the project management office in the Presidency, said last month. “It’s about delaying decommissioning until we have sufficient generating capacity and reserve margins.” Photograph: Bloomberg
NO CARBON CRUNCH
8th March 2024 By: Terence Creamer

The Presidency has expressed confidence that South Africa will meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets even if it keeps some coal-fired plants, such as the one pictured here, open beyond... 


HYDROGEN SHOWCASE: Luxury carmaker BMW has unveiled its BMW iX5 in South Africa, with the aim of showcasing the vehicle’s combined long range and short refuelling times. The BMW iX5‘s 6 kg of hydrogen allows for a 500 km range, with the car’s platinum-based fuel cell using green hydrogen produced by Sasol to produce the clean electricity that powers the quiet drive train. BMW has also installed hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at its Midrand campus in Johannesburg.
HYDROGEN SHOWCASE
1st March 2024

Luxury carmaker BMW has unveiled its BMW iX5 in South Africa, with the aim of showcasing the vehicle’s combined long range and short refuelling times. The BMW iX5‘s 6 kg of hydrogen allows for a... 


CURRENCY CRUNCH: Zimbabwe may back its currency with gold to end exchange-rate instability, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced earlier this month. “In order to manage growth of liquidity, we may link the exchange rate to a hard asset such as gold,” Ncube said in an online press briefing a week after President Emmerson Mnangagwa signalled that a revamp of the world’s worst-performing currency was under consideration. At the time of the announcement, the Zimbabwe dollar had slumped almost 50% against the US dollar this year after plunging 90% in 2023.
CURRENCY CRUNCH
23rd February 2024

Zimbabwe may back its currency with gold to end exchange-rate instability, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced earlier this month. “In order to manage growth of liquidity, we may link the... 


COLLATERAL DAMAGE
COLLATERAL DAMAGE
16th February 2024

Egypt’s Suez Canal revenue plunged by almost half in January after attacks by Houthi militants on Red Sea vessels forced major shipping firms to avoid the waterway. Income was about $428-million... 


ESKOM ECHOES
ESKOM ECHOES
9th February 2024

There are slight echoes of South Africa’s Eskom in Taiwan, where the precarious financial state of the country’s sole electricity utility, Taipower, is threatening the island’s clean energy... 


AI & ELECTIONS: As many countries, including South Africa and a highly divided US, prepare for elections in 2024, there is concern that Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools could be used to spread disinformation. Ahead of the recent Republican primary in New Hampshire a ‘deepfake’ audio message purporting to be US President Joe Biden urged voters to “Save your vote for the November elections”, even though voting in a primary cannot preclude a voter participating in the presidential elections. While obviously fake, it heightened fears that AI-powered video and image generators could well be used for political gain this year. Photograph: Bloomberg
AI & ELECTIONS
2nd February 2024

s many countries, including South Africa and a highly divided US, prepare for elections in 2024, there is concern that Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools could be used to spread disinformation.... 


SHIPPING RISKS: Recent hostilities in the Red Sea have added to the risks that global shippers will have to navigate in 2024. Reuters reports that they also face the prospect of significant disruptions from other conflicts, including any possible further souring of China-Taiwan relations, as well as droughts affecting key routes such as the Panama Canal. Should these risks increase or materialise, there could be delays that raise costs for retailers globally. Photograph: Reuters
SHIPPING RISKS
26th January 2024

Recent hostilities in the Red Sea have added to the risks that global shippers will have to navigate in 2024. Reuters reports that they also face the prospect of significant disruptions from other... 


TEA TO CHINA
TEA TO CHINA
19th January 2024

China has lowered duties on South Africa’s rooibos tea to 6% from a range of 15% to 30%, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition reported earlier this month. The industry produces... 


LOOMING CHALLENGE: Coal-dependent South Africa needs to more than double climate financing to achieve its emissions reduction targets, a Presidential Climate Commission paper states. Current yearly average funding of R131-billion needs to be boosted to R334-billion for the country to meet its net-zero goal by 2050, the paper states.
LOOMING CHALLENGE
15th December 2023

Coal-dependent South Africa needs to more than double climate financing to achieve its emissions reduction targets, a Presidential Climate Commission paper states. Current yearly average funding of... 


IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: South Africa finally published its implementation plan for the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan ahead of COP28 and amid news of fresh funding flows arising from the now expanded $9.3-billion partnership with various developed countries. The document outlines an $80-billion, five-year investment plan aimed at stimulating a transition from the economy’s current over-reliance on coal. With the detail out, the devil now resides firmly in actual implementation. Photograph: Bloomberg
IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
8th December 2023

South Africa finally published its implementation plan for the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan ahead of COP28 and amid news of fresh funding flows arising from the now expanded $9.3-billion... 


PRICE RISE: In late November, uranium prices topped $80 a pound for the first time in more than 15 years. Bloomberg reports that prices have rallied during 2023, after more than a decade of moving sideways, amid interest in nuclear and numerous production challenges. While spot uranium (picture here in the form of a yellowcake concentrate) is a thinly traded market, the term price — which is more important for power plants — has also been trending higher. Photograph: Bloomberg
PRICE RISE
1st December 2023

In late November, uranium prices topped $80 a pound for the first time in more than 15 years. Bloomberg reports that prices have rallied during 2023, after more than a decade of moving sideways,... 


ELECTRIC EXPANSION: Hyundai hosted a ground-breaking ceremony earlier this month for a $1.5-billion investment into a new electric vehicle plant in South Korea, which will be capable of producing 200 000 cars a year. The plant will be in Ulsan, where the company built its first auto plant in 1968. Bloomberg reports that work will begin later this year and mass production will start in the first quarter of 2026, with the luxury Genesis large-size sport utility vehicle the first model to roll off the assembly line. Photograph: Bloomberg
ELECTRIC EXPANSION
24th November 2023

Hyundai hosted a ground-breaking ceremony earlier this month for a $1.5-billion investment into a new electric vehicle plant in South Korea, which will be capable of producing 200 000 cars a year.... 


RISING EMISSIONS: Greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s top meat and dairy producers increased further this year, Bloomberg reports. Disclosed emissions from the world’s 20 largest listed meat and dairy companies rose 3.3% from 2022 levels, according to a report by investor network FAIRR Initiative. The food industry’s climate footprint accounts for about one-third of global greenhouse gases. Livestock, which releases potent methane, makes up 14.5% of worldwide emissions. Photograph: Bloomberg
RISING EMISSIONS
17th November 2023

Greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s top meat and dairy producers increased further this year, Bloomberg reports. Disclosed emissions from the world’s 20 largest listed meat and dairy... 


SINKING FEELING: South Africans responded with a mix of anger and resignation as the country’s other large and failing State-owned enterprise, Transnet, move to secure taxpayer support for its turnaround plan only months after Eskom was granted a R254-billion debt-relief package. The Transnet leadership have warned that absent an injection and debt relief the recovery plan will fail. The plan does open the door for more private sector participation in the ailing ports and rail systems, however. Photograph: Bloomberg
SINKING FEELING
10th November 2023

South Africans responded with a mix of anger and resignation as the country’s other large and failing State-owned enterprise, Transnet, move to secure taxpayer support for its turnaround plan only... 


CRITICAL EXPANSION: While South Africa continues to work on its critical minerals strategy, Australia has announced a $2-billion expansion in financing in a bid to solidify its position as a leading producer of critical minerals, including lithium (pictured). Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Resources Minister Madeleine King announced the expansion on October 25, surrounded by Australian and US industry leaders and following the inaugural meeting of the Australia-US Taskforce on Critical Minerals. Photograph: Bloomberg
CRITICAL EXPANSION
3rd November 2023 By: Creamer Media Reporter

CRITICAL EXPANSION: While South Africa continues to work on its critical minerals strategy, Australia has announced a $2-billion expansion in financing in a bid to solidify its position as a... 


CARBON REPORTING: China’s Environment Ministry has told factories releasing the equivalent of more than 26 000 t/y of carbon dioxide to verify their 2022 data by December. Bloomberg reports that the Ministry is centralising a reporting process that was previously handled locally to help exporters meet the requirements of the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which began data collection this month and formally launches in 2026. The aluminium, cement and steel industries covered in the first phase of the CBAM will need to complete their data verification by September from 2024.
CARBON REPORTING
27th October 2023

China’s environment ministry has told factories releasing the equivalent of more than 26 000 t/y of carbon dioxide to verify their 2022 data by December. Bloomberg reports that the ministry is... 




PUBLIC GOOD: The Public Investment Corporation says it will increase its investment in renewable energy, with chief investment officer Kabelo Rikhotso revealing that its current exposure already stands at R16.5-billion. The State-owned fund manager, which oversees about R2.6-trillion rand in assets, has renewable investments that have contributed more than 2 000 MW to the grid through solar photovoltaic, concentrated solar power and wind technology. Photograph: Bloomberg
PUBLIC GOOD
20th October 2023

The Public Investment Corporation says it will increase its investment in renewable energy, with chief investment officer Kabelo Rikhotso revealing that its current exposure already stands at... 


HYDROGEN SHOWCASE: Sasol, Toyota South Africa Motors and Air Products South Africa unveiled a proof-of-concept second-generation Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle earlier this month. The vehicle is being used to showcase the potential for domestic green hydrogen as a zero-emission transport alternative. Pictured here is Air Products South Africa’s Lutendo Mammburu, an electrical engineerwho is also currently responsible for the group’s refuelling technology. Photograph: Creamer Media Chief Photographer Donna Slater.
HYDROGEN SHOWCASE
13th October 2023

Sasol, Toyota South Africa Motors and Air Products South Africa unveiled a proof-of-concept second-generation Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle earlier this month. The vehicle is being used... 


REFORM VS RENEWAL: As South Africa prepares to host a forum on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in November, concern that the country could be disqualified from the preferential trade arrangement seems to have ebbed somewhat. However, given the diplomatic tensions and America’s extreme political divisions, renewal remains uncertain. What is clear is that America wants to make changes to the scheme, with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai arguing that the world is “really different” from when Agoa was enacted in 2000. “We’re on a timeline - you’ve got to reform, you’ve got to update while the world is changing,” Tai said at an event in Washington last month. Photograph: Bloomberg
REFORM VS RENEWAL
6th October 2023

As South Africa prepares to host a forum on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in November, concern that the country could be disqualified from the preferential trade arrangement seems to... 


THROUGH THE HAZE: While the aviation industry has promised to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, harsher weather conditions are already forcing a rethink of critical infrastructure in airports, such as this Arizona airport pictured during a recent protracted heat wave. Bloomberg reports that airports around the world are relocating sensitive electrical equipment to rooftops to protect it from flooding, reinforcing runways to handle extreme temperature swings and revving up air conditioning as climate change complicates operations. Photograph: Bloomberg
THROUGH THE HAZE
29th September 2023

While the aviation industry has promised to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, harsher weather conditions are already forcing a rethink of critical infrastructure in airports, such as this... 


HIGHER GRADE: The Mbombela-based Manganese Metal Company’s manganese refinery, built in 1974 to beneficiate manganese minerals mined in South Africa’s Hotazel’s region, produces two high-grade (99.9% pure), selenium-free manganese products, including flakes (seen here) and powder. Manganese is a key mineral used in lithium-ion batteries, steel, specialty alloys and even aluminium beverage cans, among others. The refinery – the only one of its kind outside of China which produces the highest-quality of refined manganese globally – is eyeing significant expansion, with intentions to add a brownfields 5000 t/y plant to the existing28000 t/y electrolytic manganese metal plant, which will target demand stemming from the expanding global battery electric vehicle market. Photograph: Creamer Media Chief Photographer Donna Slater
HIGHER GRADE
22nd September 2023

The Mbombela-based Manganese Metal Company’s manganese refinery, built in 1974 to beneficiate manganese minerals mined in South Africa’s Hotazel’s region, produces two high-grade (99.9% pure),... 


GIVE & TAKE
GIVE & TAKE
15th September 2023

South Africa will provide fiscal support to the automotive industry to help it transition to electric vehicles, Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo confirmed earlier this month. But given the... 


NO CREDIT: Several major carbon traders are finding that offsets they bought may now be valueless, Bloomberg reports. A carbon credit is a paper security representing one ton of carbon dioxide reduced or removed from the atmosphere, generated by projects like wind farms or planting trees and preventing deforestation, such as is the case with the Gabon forests pictured. Recently Trafigura Group, which is the world’s largest trader of carbon-removal credits, suspended a consignment as it awaited the results of a probe into the forestry project behind the units. It’s reportedly the latest in a string of cases in which traders handling carbon credits are having to treat such assets as stranded. Photograph: Bloomberg
NO CREDIT
8th September 2023

Several major carbon traders are finding that offsets they bought may now be valueless, Bloomberg reports. A carbon credit is a paper security representing one ton of carbon dioxide reduced or... 


SUNRISE INDUSTRY: A study commissioned by the Localisation Support Fund has found that there is local manufacturing capability for powerline components to meet current low levels of demand. However, to avoid an overreliance on imported products when this demand increases in line with Eskom’s grid roll-out plan, local manufacturers require support and workload certainty. Once established, the potential of supplying products to neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa could become a viable expansion strategy. Photograph: Bloomberg
SUNRISE INDUSTRY
1st September 2023

A study commissioned by the Localisation Support Fund has found that there is local manufacturing capability for powerline components to meet current low levels of demand. However, to avoid an... 


TRADE TURMOIL: The world’s biggest exporter, China, recently reported its biggest contraction in overseas shipments since the Covid-related slump of February 2020, while Germany, the world’s third-largest exporter, has also seen its exports fall. The impact on growth is uncertain and uneven, but a Bloomberg report suggests that until the global manufacturing cycle works off a build-up of inventories, export-orientated economies could pose a drag on economic prospects.
TRADE TURMOIL
25th August 2023 By: Bloomberg

The world’s biggest exporter, China, recently reported its biggest contraction in overseas shipments since the Covid-related slump of February 2020, while Germany, the world’s third-largest... 


CRIME & CONGESTION: The collapse of South Africa’s freight rail service has resulted in serious traffic congestion in Komatipoort, a town on South Africa’s border with Mozambique. Every day about 1000 trucks carrying coal and other commodities are picking up the slack left by declining volumes on key rail corridors. Bloomberg reports that there are fears that this number could rise to 3 000 trucks a day by the end of 2024 unless there is a drastic turnaround in the performance of rail. Photograph: Bloomberg
CRIME & CONGESTION
18th August 2023

The collapse of South Africa’s freight rail service has resulted in serious traffic congestion in Komatipoort, a town on South Africa’s border with Mozambique. Every day about 1 000 trucks carrying... 


SHALLOW WATERS: Companies reliant on the Rhine River, Europe’s most important trade route, are rushing to adapt as water regularly recedes to levels that impede shipping. Bloomberg reports that water levels this latest European summer fell to the point where ships could carry only about half of their normal capacity. Companies are also increasingly having to resort to costly workarounds, while freight operators have started overhauling fleets with barges able to navigate shallow water.
SHALLOW WATERS
11th August 2023

Companies reliant on the Rhine River, Europe’s most important trade route, are rushing to adapt as water regularly recedes to levels that impede shipping. Bloomberg reports that water levels this... 


GRID IN FOCUS: Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says South Africa will prioritise the expansion of its grid over the next decade and reports that work is under way on 25 projects at existing substations that could potentially unlock grid capacity for about 13 GW of much-needed generation in the near- to medium-term. He has also stressed that South Africa can ill-afford to “kick the can down the road” in the area of grid investment as it did in the early 2000s with generation. Photograph: Bloomberg
GRID IN FOCUS
4th August 2023

Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says South Africa will prioritise the expansion of its grid over the next decade and reports that work is under way on 25 projects at existing... 


FOOD-PRICE EMERGENCY: Nigeria’s annual inflation rate climbed to a fresh 18-year high in June. This, after President Bola Tinubu scrapped fuel subsidies and allowed the currency to weaken before declaring a state of emergency to control the cost of staple foods, Bloomberg reports. Prices increased 22.79% in the year through June from 22.4% the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The upswing was fuelled by a 25.3% increase in food prices. Photograph: Bloomberg
FOOD-PRICE EMERGENCY
28th July 2023

Nigeria’s annual inflation rate climbed to a fresh 18-year high in June. This, after President Bola Tinubu scrapped fuel subsidies and allowed the currency to weaken before declaring a state of... 


BEES AT WORK: JSE-listed Emira Property Fund has installed 16 beehives at eight of its properties in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal as part of an initiative designed to assist in addressing a decline of global bee populations. The first hives were installed in August 2020 at the Knightsbridge office park, in Bryanston and Hyde Park Lane, in Sandton. The hives are located away from areas of heavy foot traffic, are clearly sign-posted, and beekeeping activities take place at night.  Emira reports that the bees have produced 85 kg of honey to date from five hive sites, with the first honey harvests shared with staff and some service providers.
BEES AT WORK
21st July 2023

JSE-listed Emira Property Fund has installed 16 beehives at eight of its properties in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal as part of an initiative designed to assist in addressing a decline of global bee... 


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